I’ve been sworn to secrecy by a sentient patch of haze named Deb to not reveal any secrets about The Spy In The Desert, so this post will contain no spoilers whatsoever about the show itself. What happens in Night Vale on the regular however, that’s an entire different story.
For the uninitiated, Welcome To Night Vale is a storytelling podcast, where Carlos (the main character) hosts his radio show, which is broadcast across the town of Night Vale. Night Vale is a mysterious desert town where strange happenings occur, with my favourite being the dog park. No dogs are allowed in the dog park.
The Spy In The Desert is a standalone story which the team behind Night Vale (Night Vale Presents) are touring around the world, and I was lucky enough that they were coming to Norwich. I’m especially pleased with this as no-one, absolutely no-one knows where Norwich is. Especially if they’re a small time, cult podcast.
The show was hosted at Epic Studios by Anglia Square. I’ve never been there before, it’s a decent enough venue but their drinks prices are a bit steep. I’d assume the venue was cold because they don’t usually have heating as it’s usually home to live music where the audience generate their own heat.
The concept of a podcast being performed on stage may seem strange but somehow for Welcome To Night Vale, it works. The actor behind the sentient patch of haze named Deb performed at first as a time traveller to read us the rules: photography is allowed (yes!), videos & recordings aren’t (fair enough, it’s the audio that’s copyrighted I guess), and keep what we see and hear a secret (no spoiling the show!).
What then happens is a short musical performance by the artist behind The Weather for the show. ‘The Weather’ is a segment in the podcast where an musician performs a song, and within the live show too.
The podcast then begins and we are transported into the world of Night Vale. The actors behind the characters perform their parts with the freedom of stage acting too to help tell the story.
I bought tickets for Welcome To Night Vale: A Spy In The Desert as a Christmas present for my brother early last year, and we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was an experience that you only really get to understand by going, so I do recommend getting tickets for the last few shows in this run, or for a future story they tour.
It’s an engaging, entertaining experience with mild audience participation which after a double vodka and coke I wasn’t too worried about. I would recommend sitting relatively centre and close to the stage if possible, I was second row dead centre which was fantastic. Seats at my show were unallocated but I cannot speak for other shows.
If Welcome To Night Vale is toured in the UK again, and they come close enough to me to justify buying tickets, I definitely will be.